Premature babies more likely to remain virgins
People born prematurely are twice as likely to remain life-long virgins compared to babies born at full-term, research suggests.
Analysis of studies covering up to 4.4 million adult participants has shown that those who were born pre-term are less likely to form romantic relationships, have sex or experience parenthood than those who were born full-term.
Researchers at the University of Warwick believe this is partly due to premature birth being associated with people who are more withdrawn and shy, socially excluded and less likely to take risks in adolescence.
The analysis found that those born pre-term were 28pc less likely to form a romantic relationship and 22pc less likely to become parents, when compared to those born full-term.
In the studies that looked at the sexual relations of pre-term children, they were 2.3 times less likely to ever have a sexual partner when compared to full-terms.
Those born before the 28-week mark were more than three times less likely to have sex, according to the paper, published in 'JAMA Network Open'. When adults born prematurely had friends or a partner, the quality of these relationships was not diminished compared to those born full term.
First author of the paper, Dr Marina Goulart de Mendonca, said: "Preterm-born children have been previously found to have poorer social interactions in childhood that make it harder for them to master social transitions such as finding a partner."